Thursday, October 1, 2009

Learned today: Scrum is like a roundabout

Yesterday I was attending the scrum breakfast in Bern.

François Bachmann held an insightful presentation where he drew analogies between traffic and software projects: Projektstau auflösen - wie Sie Ihrem Manager Agilität erklären können (Breaking up traffic jam - how you can explain Agile to your manager).

roundabout.pngThe main analogy was:
Scrum is like a roundabout
  • Simple & Transparent Concept
  • Based on the Pull principle (not Push)
  • Provides Feedback
  • Self-organising mechanism
  • Heavily relies on discipline and personal responsibility
  • Roundabouts cause uncertainty and precaution at first contact (if you are used to traffic lights - command & control style).
  • Roundabouts are optimized for local decisions (only precedence from one direction is relevant) - traffic is too complex for exact planning and influenced by unforeseeable events, only high level planning is feasible, details have to taken care of when they happen.
  • A lot of decision-makers with potential different interests are involved
  • Individual decision-makers have only incomplete informations
  • Roundabouts work as well for rush-hours as for no-traffic situations
  • Benefits: less conflict, higher safety, optimized throughput, reduced waste, reduced costs, calm & aesthetic
  • Problems: Not appropriate for some situations (highway crossing a footpath), requires space, needs getting used to

  • 531312153_9f1bef580b.jpg
    And a funny example of scrumbut:
    Arc de Triomphe - a roundabout, but entering vehicles have precedence.

    1 comment:

    1. Excellent analogy, and well captured. I have written something on similar lines: "In a roundabout sort of way" --


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